Tuesday, 25 April 2017

5 Indonesian Ethical Clothing Labels

All this time, when it takes to ethical clothing labels, I've been looking abroad—and later on wistfully dreaming that I could one day purchase their items—when, in fact, there are various ethical labels here in my own homeland. You're probably familiar with Kana—not like I haven't mentioned them millions of times—but other than that, I was clueless about fair fashion labels in the country. Thanks to the Slow Fashion exhibition I visited earlier this month, I got introduced to more than a handful of them. So, in case you're as clueless as I was, I thought I'd introduce some of them to you in this post.

When 5 Indonesian NGOs joined together to form Crafts Kalimantan—a network of indigenous artisans in Kalimantan and their NGO support groups—they created an initiative that turned into Borneo Chic, which was then established as the marketing arm for the network. Their purpose is to promote the artistic heritage of Borneo—such as anjat, korit, bemban, tenun sintang and ulap doyo—by merging the elements of traditional weaving with contemporary designs. They opened their first store in 2011 in Kemang, Jakarta, and now carries their products in 6 stores across the nation.

Starting in 2015, Cinta Bumi has been specialising in barkcloth, which is handmade textile embodiment with papery-leathery texture, originating from Bada Valley (Poso) and Kulawi Valley (Sigi) in Central Sulawesi. Their goal is to revive the barkcloth-making tradition in Indonesia by embracing the artisans across the country. With a home-based atelier in Bali, they cater to the cause of sustainability in social and environmental aspects. Their selection varies from bags, pouches to book covers.

It was in May 2014 when designer couple Ega and Julia (EJ) started this Bandung-based sustainable jewelry label. It is unique from the way that their products are handcrafted using dry rice grain, resin brass or silver. Their goal was to create a label focused on "sustainable luxury," meaning to create luxury items while using sustainable materials. Their items remind me of crystals without having to mine for the items, which is much eco-friendlier. They also look incredibly gorgeous!

Using natural dyes as well as trees and plants native to Indonesia, Imaji Studio strive to be more sustainable. Using 100% handwoven cotton and asking for the help of local artisans, they apply Japanese philosophy and aesthetics, preserving deliberate beauty in imperfection of handmade objects. They offer all sorts of quirky casual clothes, from slip dresses to culottes. They also have side projects—such as the Zero Waste project, where they create accessories from their leftover fabric.

With the determination to create a positive social impact, Denica Flesch created this batik brand with the focus on batik tulis (literally translated: written batik), which means each pattern is drawn by hand and each item is unique. Their business model ties one collection to one initiative for a rural textile community. For instance, for their KUPU collection the Sukkhacitta team provides training to the farming community in Jamplang Village, Central Java, to turn their indigo farms into fabrics for clothes. They offer a selection of gorgeous kimonos, bandanas and scarves.

One of the things that I love the most about Indonesian fair fashion labels—as you can probably tell from this list—is that they, not only empower the poor and stay responsible to nature, but also fight to preserve our cultural heritage. As an art-enthusiast, I find that aspect to be very important—as our cultural artistry seems to be dwindling. Aside from these, you can obviously check out a number of other ethical clothing labels that I've featured on the blog before. You can also read my interview with the founder of Kana and see their behind-the-scenes process.

If you have any more recommendations of ethical labels, please don't hesitate to let me know down below!

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Fashion Revolution Week STARTS NOW!

As most of you probably know, four years ago today the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing around 1200 people. In this building there were a number of garment factories producing clothing items for retail companies worldwide, including Primark, Gap, Uniqlo, C&A and Walmart. This was the event that inspired the founding of the Fashion Revolution organisation and every year on April 24th, they initiate a movement to evaluate the behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry. Then, a year ago, they took it up a notch and created a Fashion Revolution Week on 24-30 April. There are various ways you can participate on this movement—especially if you're an influencer—which you can check out here. Here on Alive as Always, though, I'll be bringing you a week of ethical fashion-related posts—read below.

When it comes to ethical fashion brands, they seem to be so hard to find in Indonesia. Aside from my beloved Kana, which you would have seen on the blog over and over again, I actually didn't know any other brands of the same ethics. That is until the Slow Fashion exhibition I visited earlier this month introduced me to many other brands that I've never heard of before. So here I will feature them to be alternatives for the fashion-enthusiasts in the Archipelago.

Recently, Annika of Pineneedle Collective just launched her selection of patches and she talked about the manufacturing process of her products. Then she mentioned certifications that ensure that certain clothing labels or factories are ethical and fair. That's when I realise that aside from the perpetrators—the designers and manufacturers—and the influencers, fair and ethical fashion gets a lot of help from organisations as well. These are the organisations and foundations that ensure the sustainability of the fashion industry and provide information for manufacturers and consumers alike on the topic of ethical fashion.

If you don't have the budget to buy from ethical brands, there are other ethical ways to acquire your clothes, i.e. thrifting. However, if you're a newbie to this whole ordeal, there are definitely some ways you can make the thrifting situation a smooth sailing. Having been thrifting since only 2011, I know I'm probably no expert, but I thought I'd share some of the things I've learnt over the years. I'd be sure to make this applicable for both on- and offline.

If you've been following the blog for a while, you'd probably notice that I'm not much of a DIY master. That being said, I think DIYing things is such a fun activity to do and I'm definitely a sucker for personalised items—and what better way is there to do so than DIY? These tips will be equipped with recommendations of the best and easiest DIYs that I know—and may have tried before—so even the most amateur of DIYer will be able to follow.

One of my biggest pride as blogger is in my ability to remix my clothes. Following the original idea from A Beautiful Mess, back in 2012 I made my own version of the Fashion Mixology. While ABM created 8 outfits using 8 pieces, I made 6 outfits using 6 pieces. It was my one and only attempt, but it was a lot of fun. I think most people often find it hard to remix their clothes, thus keep buying new pieces that they only wear 1-2 times before tossing away. I hope this will inspire some of you and help you wear your clothes to its maximum potential.

Saving the best for last, I'll close Fashion Revolution Week with a list of my favourite ethical fashion bloggers from across the globe. If you want ethical brand recommendations, tips on turning your closet fair and other such inspirations, these are the people to follow. I applaud their passion to support brands who treat their workers right and inspire people to be conscious consumers, instead of exploiting the latest trends and encouraging people to spend without considering its negative impacts on others. If we have more influencers like this, the world could be advancing in the right direction.

via Fashion Revolution
But don't forget to contribute this week as well by wearing your clothes with the label out and asking your favourite clothing label "Who Made My Clothes?" Spread the awareness, that behind each of these items, there is a face and a life who may or may not have to pay for your bargains. Demand your favourite brands to be responsible to their workers and treat them right. You can also film a haulternative video—or maybe write a post about it, if that's more up your alley—and spread it to everyone you know to encourage them to acquire their clothes ethically. Also, check out this page to see if there's any local event you can attend. Let us learn more, spread the awareness and take a stand against fast fashion!

P.S: If you want to read more about this topic, you can find all the posts here

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